Originally Posted by oddjob
Yesterday we met with a few pastors from various churches in the area to make reminder-to-pray bookmarks to disperse to Bethany. That's all I have to say about that.
The rain just stopped. People are again walking the streets. That's the first thing you notice in daytime Rwanda. There are people everywhere. They don't have cars and so they walk. Bicycles are fairly common. They all have flat beds behind the seats for carrying people, bags of potatoes, or bundles of bamboo-looking branches. You could close line six people at once. Buses and vans are there too. The most common mode of quick transportation is paying a motorcyclist to taxi you. People carry everything on their heads. They necks must be made of cement (steel bends when compressed). When it starts to rain, everyone just takes shelter, squished together under the nearest eve until it stops.
The roads aren't near as crazy as in Jamaica. While pedestrians don't have right-of-way, at least drivers will slow down and try to avoid them. They honk if a pedestrian or bicyclist is ten seconds away. Cars slow down around curves or when they're about to hit pot holes. Not so in Jamaica. Drivers aren't afraid that cutting someone off will cause an accident. Perhaps the speed limit naturally enforced by the pedestrians and road quality allow for quick braking.
Though people crowd the city streets of Seattle, this is somehow different. People look more comfortable around other people. They look used to walking and taking whatever time it takes. Seattlites are determined unless they're playing the tourist for the day.
My pen just dried up. Nearly the entire thing was spent in this journal. I hadn't planned on that possibility happening. I don't think I've ever written a pen, start to finish.
On Friday night, a new translator arrived for the weekend named Dyanah, or Di. She and I have been a little bit of an item, an innocent, two-day African fling. She's stick thin--compared to her, I look average--about 5'9", with a face softer than most African women have. I was surprised that her accent nearly matches mine. She's going into international business, in the hopes of traveling the world a bit.
The last two nights' events conspired against our Nertz tradition. No riveting writing to add there.
As it is Sunday, we all went to church, or rather three churches. The church we went to was Baptist, I believe. It's a church Elizabeth visited when she was here in January. Since then, it has gained windows, doors, a roof, and a floor, half of which was still drying today.
When we got there, a choir was already singing and dancing. As the rear half of the floor was dying, the front doors were locked and everyone entered by a side door near the front. We were seated in chairs immediately to our right, clearly reserved by for esteemed visitors.
The choir sang a couple songs, each five to eight minutes long. We clapped. Di complained to me yesterday that all the music here is now synthesized rather than made with real drums or instruments. Such was the case here. When the music died down, the pastor welcomed each group: men, women, children, pastors from the Congo, visiting pastors from nearby, people who have been gone a while but have returned, new people, and us. He gave a short sermon on Daniel 1. More singing happened by a second choir, lots of clapping, lots of dancing. The pastor had us go to the front and introduce ourselves. More singing happened and this time the pastor invited us to join in the dancing. I wish I had, just because it's a bit of a fear of mine. Ballroom dancing and swing I love; when I don't know what I'm doing, I can't make myself move. The running-in-place the dancing men were doing was pretty simple, but I still wimped out. Next was time for testifying. Someone had gotten married this week and an aunt was proud and praising Jesus for it. Something happened for a guy that I don't remember, and to thank God, he was putting 50,000 franks in the offering this week. That's about $83--very generous here, about two weeks' wages. Each time someone went up or sat down, including when we introduced ourselves, the keyboardist played the same short tune giving it a talk show flavor. A second pastor came forth to give a half hour sermon on a few different verses scattered throughout the Bible. The long and short of it was that people need to return to God, and until that happens, don't expect any miracles. Next was tithes and offerings. We each put in our 83¢ we'd been told was an appropriate amount. More singing and dancing. The three hour service ended around noon.
I was in my Sunday best, slacks, black dress shirt, shoes, and tie. Di said I looked "stunning."
This morning I had a debilitating headache. Marie gave me some Advil and I skipped breakfast in lieu of lying down til it took effect. Thus, I missed the announcement that we ought to bring a change of casual clothes. It turned out not to matter as stopping back at the hotel before lunch was both on the way and the more logical choice.
We had lunch at Lava Cafe, which I think the other members of my team nicknamed Lava Java. They serve white people friendly food. I got what the menu made sound like a tri-tip dip. They forgot my au jus, but all-in-all it was decent. Di ate my fries complaining for the umpteenth time that I don't eat.
After lunch, we went to a national rainforest as tourists. What appeared to be a park ranger gave us a tour of the forest, complete with history and legend. We took a ton of pictures. Di stole my camera saying I don't take enough shots. I'll be the first to admit that. Africans take pictures slightly diagonally. We got a good shot or two of the two of us with arms draped over shoulders. Right at the end of the tour path, it began to rain. Heavily. It was a mad dash across volcanic stones and under vines, Indiana Jones style, to the SUVs. The rain stopped thirty feet from the start of the trail. One of the legends or historic stories had to do with a pool or spring that dried up when someone tried to tamper with it. Four snakes appeared and the tamperer disappeared, never seen again to this day. Seven days later, the pool returned to normal. We saw that pool then left for home.
I'm all stuffed up with a sore throat. I think Marie gave me her cold. I don't much feel like eating dinner, which is in fifteen minutes, but I want to say goodbye to Dyanah. It's been fun.